Montpelier Wine Festival 2016 Rain or Shine

Montpelier-cover-photo

The rolling hills of the Piedmont and the history of Montpelier make this one of the more idyllic settings for showcasing our local wineries. I’ve been there in all kinds of weather, but this is a must for history buffs, wine lovers and gardening enthusiasts. This event is well organized and traffic flow is smooth. Wear your Wellies or rain boots (just in case) since the ground may be a bit mushy after all of our recent rain. Bring some camp chairs, you’ll want to be able to sit back a bit after walking the gardens and enjoy a nice Viognier or Cabernet Franc. For hikers, save your wine for the end of the day and head out on the Montpelier-Grelen Trail, MontpelierTrails, a 3.9 mile loop with 9 miles of trails to explore. The Governor designated this trail a “Virginia Treasure” and is a fun way to explore the historical grounds, mountain views and it links to the Grelen Nursery on the Grelen Farm. Grelen is another find and worthy of a separate blog post, family oriented, great gift shop and in season berry picking, plus a sand box for the little ones!

 

Don’t miss  visiting the Mansion at James Madison’s Montpelier, but allow extra time!  Mansion tour tickets will be discounted for festival attendees. Exchange Café, featuring BBQ Exchange barbecue, is available for lunches! Wineries that are featured are, of course, Barboursville and Horton Vineyards, as well as Cross Keys Vineyard, Well Hung Vineyard, Democracy Vineyard, Reynard Florence Vineyard, Delfosse Vineyards & Winery, Lazy Days Winery, Villa Appalachia, Kilaurwen Winery, Mattaponi Winery, Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery, Peaks of Otter Winery,  Lake Anna Winery, Jefferson Vineyards, Rockbridge Vineyard (blog post waiting in the wings) and Stone Mountain Vineyards plus even more!

 

Have Fun!

 

A Double Gold Afternoon at Jefferson Vineyards

 

Sunday Drive

Family outings with our son Brian and his  bride to be,  Carolina, are the best!  Always game for scoping out a new winery, we headed in the direction of Kluge Winery to pick up more of the 2007  Albemarle Simply Red.  The sun had  just peeked out after a rather gloomy Sunday morning and we were ripe to enjoy a little fresh April breeze and warm sunshine.  In a recent church sermon, ( it was Sunday after all!) we learned that direction not intention determines our destination!  Cruising down 53 past historic Monticello,  Jefferson Vineyards appeared ahead on our right and with that,  our destination  veered to the Jefferson Tasting Room!  Side note, we did make it to Kluge eventually and a quick stop at Blenheim as well.

We were quite familiar with  Jefferson wines but always held the notion that this particular winery was a bit  more of a tourist trap then a local attraction.  Nice to be  proven wrong,  it turned out to be a very pleasant experience and in retrospect are glad we hijacked ourselves off  our original route. If you’ve read any other posts you’ll notice I’m a bit spontaneous when it comes to winery visits.

To the right side of the parking area are old wine barrels  for sale to recycle rainwater, cool idea!  Add that want to Honey! I want a Vineyard!  Next to the rain barrels were even larger wine barrels.  Brian, anticipating his upcoming wedding festivities was attracted to the super sized wine barrels and attempted a pre-tasting!  Not really!  He hammed it up for the camera!

Jefferson Vineyards

A shaded deck is positioned just in front of the door to the tasting room. Lacks a little in curb appeal but  a  nice area to sit outside;  I think the best views are from the meadow facing the mountains and  that site could  be capitalized on  more.  They have placed a few Adirondack chairs with small tables to rest your wine bottle and glasses.  Nice touch!  I would recommend tightening the bolts a little or sturdier furniture, they’re  a bit light weight compared to other chairs of similar style.  All it takes is a bigger budget! or maybe a smaller…!  A lovely flagstone patio would be nice and visible from the scenic highway, beckoning to the multitude of tourists who visit Monticello and Ashlawn daily.

Invited inside by a couple of engaging  tasting hosts, forgive me I can’t recall the gentemen’s names, we embarked on tasting award-winning wines envisioned long ago by Thomas Jefferson.  Several visitors passed through during our tasting.  They were given directions, information and local trivia by the hosts.  We enjoyed their personal stories about  the wines and their favorite food  pairings. Such hospitality,  Another nice touch!

The Tasting

Tastings are $10,  slightly higher than most of the local wineries but includes a Riedel wine glass. Nicest touch of all!!  I’ve been in wineries in the Willamette Valley that offer the same style of Riedel glassware, each engraved with their logo.  A classic idea which enhances  the overall experience of the quality, color and especially the bouquet of the vintage.   Coincidentally, we were consulted about offering engraved glasses at Jefferson.  Of course, we thought it an excellent idea as a keepsake.  I use my souvenir glasses for sipping by the firepit, no tears if the glass doesn’t return to the cabinet!  In this case, the glass stays indoors.   We first tasted the whites, then reds and finished with the semi dry whites,  the Vin Blanc was Carolina’s favorite ( as marked on the tasting notes)!  Carolina draws hearts and stars (which fit her personality) on her tasting notes and Brian draws emotional  faces and caricatures on his (fitting his personality!) .

     Carolina Loved This-See the Heart!

Top of our list was the 2010 Pinot Gris crisp, bright and floral like the afternoon weather.  Our favorite reds were the Petit Verdot 2009 tasting of spice and tobacco and definitely, the Meritage 2008  Gold Medal Winner of the 2010 San Diego International Wine Competition.  The memorable and unique Malvaxian wine wasn’t available for tasting  (I love that bottle design) which is an excellent addition to any wine collection!   We selected the Pinot Gris, a Double Gold Medal winner,  to toast our side trip.  Taking our bottle to the meadow, we relaxed in the Adirondack chairs  savouring  excellent wine,  picture postcard views and sharing it with a lovely young couple very much in love.

 A Double Gold Day in The Monticello Trail Wine Country!                       

Cheers and a Clink to Carolina and Brian in 2011 and another Clink to Thomas Jefferson-Happy Belated Birthday!

Groupon Deal at High Meadows Vineyard Inn!

A friend of mine has a wonderful B & B near Charlottesville and in the vicinity of Blenheim, Sugar Leaf Keswick, Jefferson Vineyards and more!

The deal is On! Check out High Meadows Vineyard Inn featuring elegant accommodations adjacent to a vineyard tended by Gabrielle Rausse himself!

The GroupOn Coupon offers: $250 for a Two-Night Weekday Stay for Two and Farm & Winery Tour with Picnic Locavore Lunch at High Meadows Vineyard Inn (Up to $625 Value)!  No time to write more, all the details are on the link. Will plan on a much more in-depth review of this delightful Inn in the near future.  Don’t wait too long, the last GroupOn Deal they offered sold out very quickly!